Sociology and Common Knowledge

“We encounter reality only if we approach it on all the paths which we, as creatures, can tread,” writes Rosenstock-Huessy (In the Cross of Reality, 230). He’s commending his quadrilateral cross of reality, arguing that we must pursue the fourfold path of “the soul, of reason, culture, and nature” (230).

Not that the cross is a method. These abstractions are only “superstructures” that “represent the universal for which we strive in our capacities as daughter and mother, son and father. We move along those paths whenever our two generations and our two sexes meet each other in a courageous and confident spirit.” However we label them, we should not “deviate from coming to life as ‘holistic’ creatures” (230).

Sociologists tend to forget this: “many sociologists remain below this level of educated speech when they talk about us humans. A journal printed this: ‘Scientifically it can no longer be doubted that children need their mother’s love.’ A whole school of thought is proud of this new discovery. But it is ridiculous. These are people parading like children with a new-found knowledge, which long ago they learned from their mothers.” It’s a sign that “forgetfulness of what we all know in common is an educational deficiency” (231).

This is what makes sociology an “insecure discipline.” With all its research, funding, scientific apparatus, “it knows less (rather than more) about human beings than every layman” (231).

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